Travelers worldwide flock to the lights and grandeur of the Las Vegas Strip. With its luxurious hotels, swanky clubs, and fabulous shows, those who visit rarely leave disappointed. However, others who look past the glitzy glamour will find an entirely different experience. Around Las Vegas, visitors can hike, kayak, attend festivals, and much more.
Red Rock Canyon
Upon arriving at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, stop first at the visitor center. Spend some time looking at the exhibits and outdoor amphitheater. The amphitheater overlooks the red rocks of the Calico Basin from a distance. Return to your vehicle and begin the 13-mile scenic loop drive. Take numerous stops for photo ops of deep canyons and tall mountains.
Boulder City grew as the Hoover Dam did in the 1930s. Today, around the small desert town, visitors can zipline Bootleg Canyon, kayak beneath the Hoover Dam, and ride a historic train. Railbikes are also popular, allowing guests to pedal a cart on the old railroad tracks at sunset.
Arizona Hot Springs + Colorado River
Located on the western side of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona Hot Springs hides deep in canyons away from the highway. Walk through shallow, flowing, warm water to a ladder. Then, climb up to soak in the healing mineral waters. To arrive at Arizona Hot Springs, you can hike the 6 to 7 mile loop, or rent a kayak from Boulder City. If you choose the latter, your rental company will drop you off at the base of the Hoover Dam. From there, you will have the freedom to explore many hikes and hot springs hidden along the lonely waterway. Nearby, along the Colorado River is the Emerald Cove, a hidden gem of a cave with emerald green water. A true beauty.
Looking for an escape from the sandy desert? Want a more alpine experience? Set your sights on Mt. Charleston in the Mt. Charleston Recreation Area. Here at 7,000 feet, you can grab lunch at the Mt. Charleston Lodge or hit the slopes at Lee Canyon Ski Resort. There are many hikes throughout the Spring Mountains, including the short Robber's Roost and the majestic Mary Jane Falls. If you have all day, hike to the peak of Mt. Charleston itself on a 17-mile loop.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire State Park, found at the north end of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, will transport you to a vast, beautiful, orange wilderness. Here, you can hike White Domes' slot canyons, and visit a movie set from old Hollywood, still on site. You can also experience evidence of the ancient cultures while following Petroglyph Canyon Trail. This is one of the easiest Las Vegas day trips as it starts just off the road on you way to the Grand Canyon!
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, NV
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect stop for anyone who loves camping, fishing, boating, and hunting. Located far away from any big towns, you'll enjoy seeing the stars each night from your campsite. There are also many trails throughout Pahranagat, both for hiking and ATVs. Again, be sure to bring enough water, and also take out what you bring in.